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Reed

Marlborough, NH, United States

4
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 12 reviews
  • 38 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 35 purchased in 2014
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  • Escape

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By James Clavell
    • Narrated By John Lee
    Overall
    (99)
    Performance
    (54)
    Story
    (56)

    When the Shah of Iran is overthrown, that nation's turmoil captures the world's attention. Caught in this shifting world of fanaticism, ambition, duplicity, heartbreak, and violent death are the foreign helicopter pilots who have been servicing the oilfields up and down the country. Their one objective is to make a bold, concerted escape, with their helicopters, to safety across the Gulf.

    Jean says: "The fall of the Shah"
    "Not Clavell's best"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from James Clavell and/or John Lee?

    I am a huge fan of Clavell and also of John Lee's narration of other Clavell books.


    Was Escape worth the listening time?

    Fundamentally yes, but having read most of James Clavell's more epic works set in Asia, this one was not up to that standard. What I have always enjoyed about his major characters is their bred-in-the-bone instinct for survival in wildly perilous situations. These characters were the opposite: in wildly perilous circumstances, they did one fantastically dumb thing after the next, though they do this heroically. That makes for a much less interesting story than when characters survive by guile.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Holy Warrior

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Angus Donald
    • Narrated By Graham Padden
    Overall
    (47)
    Performance
    (46)
    Story
    (46)

    Arrows will fly. Swords will swing. Heroes will fall. Legends will survive. And the Holy Land will never be the same.1190 AD: Richard the Lionheart has launched his epic crusade to seize Jerusalem from the cruel Saracens. Marching with the vast royal army is Britain's most famous, most feared, most ferocious warrior: the Outlaw of Nottingham, the Earl of Locksley - Robin Hood himself. With his band of loyal men at his side, Robin cuts a bloody swathe on the brutal journey east.

    Reed says: "A big disappointment after Outlaw"
    "A big disappointment after Outlaw"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really liked Outlaw and tried to like Holy Warrior, but after listening for many hours to tiresome depictions of extreme sadism and battlefields slick with the entrails of disemboweled horses, I finally concluded that there was no actual plot here, so I stopped listening. It doesn't work as a travelogue or as a story. I would remember the first book with far greater pleasure if I hadn't moved on to the second.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Outlaw

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Angus Donald
    • Narrated By Graham Padden
    Overall
    (76)
    Performance
    (74)
    Story
    (73)

    When he's caught stealing, young Alan Dale is forced to leave his family and go to live with a notorious band of outlaws in Sherwood Forest. Their leader is the infamous Robin Hood. A tough, bloodthirsty warrior, Robin is more feared than any man in the county. And he becomes a mentor for Alan; with his fellow outlaws, Robin teaches Alan how to fight - and how to win.

    G.Monie says: "Not bad Robin Hood Fiction"
    "A good story, but only as a stand-alone"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I wasn't sure I would like this, but I chose it on the strength of other reviews and it proved to be an engaging story. It was easy to root for the young protagonist, and the narrative pace was brisk.

    I was pleased that there was a series to follow Outlaw, and if I had written this review prior to listening to the second installment in the series, I would have more enthusiasm about this great start. However, the second book, Warrior, was so disappointing that it colors my appreciation of the first book.

    I enjoyed the story and the characters of Outlaw enough that I was willing to put up with the gory depictions of sadism that peppered the narrative. But the second book, Warrior, was all gore and no plot. I wish now that I had only listened to the first one and left it at that.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Swordspoint: A Melodrama of Manners

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Ellen Kushner
    • Narrated By Ellen Kushner, Dion Graham, Katherine Kellgren, and others
    Overall
    (761)
    Performance
    (680)
    Story
    (680)

    On the treacherous streets of Riverside, a man lives and dies by the sword. Even the nobles on the Hill turn to duels to settle their disputes. Within this elite, dangerous world, Richard St. Vier is the undisputed master, as skilled as he is ruthless--until a death by the sword is met with outrage instead of awe, and the city discovers that the line between hero and villain can be altered in the blink of an eye.

    Stacy says: "What a beautiful book..."
    "Ridiculous"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am a huge fan of both Neil Gaiman and the narrator Simon Jones. It was on the strength of their association with this book that I bought it, despite misgivings. I hoped, I suppose, that the many enthusiastic reviewers of the audiobook were onto something, and that the minority of negative reviewers were perhaps a bit trollish. Well, I'm voting with the trolls.

    I might have tolerated this book well enough if the whole thing had been read by, say, Stephen Briggs or Simon Jones -- both masters of many voices. Either one could say every name on a half-page in the phone book in a convincingly distinct voice. Instead, this book was read by many different men and women who spoke essentially alike. Incredibly, the main narrator (the book's author) sometimes reads her characters' voices and sometimes other people do. It was just a mess.

    The idiom of the written book was overtly British, featuring an array of titled nobles. But unlike any noble of my acquaintance, the audio characters all spoke in nearly identical American accents. Apart from the author, the character actors sound like students -- and not even not drama majors at that -- reading dialog they wrote for a school play. It was so cognitively dissonant, and fell so short of the standard of narration that I expected, that I could barely focus on the story. Not to mention the absurd background sound effects; don't let's even start on that!

    The author was a better reader than most of the other voices, but not a lot better. I tried to listen and follow the thread, hoping if I got engaged in the story I could tune out the goofy reading, but nearly every time a character spoke, I found myself imagining how much more authentically the lines could have been delivered. "I think we should get a cat of our own," for example, as opposed to, "I-ee think WEee should get a cat of our OWN." Who eNUNciates like THAT? Nearly every line of dialog was so over-acted that I'd have laughed if it hadn't been so grating.

    I got about a third of the way through the book, and since I knew I was going to return it for a refund, I stopped listening. I needed something refreshing for the rest of my drive, so I turned to a random place in one of my favorite Terry Pratchett Discworld books, The Truth, read by Stephen Briggs. I happened upon a scene where half a dozen aristocratic men of similar age are seated in darkness around a table. Stephen Briggs' reading -- always astounding -- is here beyond brilliant. I know every one these people! -- or at least I know their kind from British costume dramas. Every cadence, every intonation, every pitch is so unique to each unnamed character that I could be eavesdropping on six living, breathing, upper-class British men sitting in total darkness around my own table!

    I am not sure whether or not I would have liked the book had it been read by a master narrator (probably not), but this rendition was ridiculous.



    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Daniel James Brown
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1510)
    Performance
    (1371)
    Story
    (1382)

    Daniel James Brown's robust book tells the story of the University of Washington's 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans. The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the boys defeated elite rivals first from eastern and British universities and finally the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler in the Olympic games in Berlin, 1936.

    Janice says: "Do you believe in miracles??"
    "Wish I could give it six stars"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Great story, great writing, great narration. Against the backdrop of the Depression, the deep determination of these boys, especially Joe, on whom the story centers, is absolutely riveting. The author is a master storyteller, and his tale is compelling, uplifting, and rich with the flavor of those times. Loved Edward Hermann as a narrator, and my standards for narrators are high. This is the best book I've listened to in recent memory.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Antony and Cleopatra

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Colleen McCullough
    • Narrated By Sneha Mathan
    Overall
    (98)
    Performance
    (40)
    Story
    (38)

    Mark Antony, famous warrior and legendary lover, expects that he will be Julius Caesar's successor. But when Caesar is murdered, his 18-year-old nephew, Octavian, is named as his heir. No one, least of all Antony, expects Octavian to last; but his youth and slight frame conceal a remarkable determination and a sharp strategic mind. Under Octavian's rule, the empire is divided, with Antony responsible for the fabulously rich East. There he meets Cleopatra.

    Amazon Customer says: "Not in the least disappointed"
    "I tried, but could not get into it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have to admit that I didn't get that far into this book before deciding that the dissonance of the narrator's American accent swamped my determination to differentiate and get to know these characters.

    Contrast the narration of Antony and Cleo to the brilliant performance of Simon Jones reading Robert Harris's Imperium series -- or don't, as Simon Jones and his ilk are so much better at bringing characters to life through nuance in speech that comparison would be odious. The best of the British readers are able to define a great deal about a character by dialect and patois, making it much easier to keep track of a vast cast in a long story. In my experience listening to "Rome-themed" books, American narrators who would be perfectly acceptable reading a contemporary novel rarely ring true reading characters from ancient history. I found myself having to rewind again and again to recall who was speaking, and I finally gave up. It didn't help that the story wasn't immediately compelling.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: The Clifton Chronicles, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Jeffrey Archer
    • Narrated By Alex Jennings
    Overall
    (528)
    Performance
    (451)
    Story
    (455)

    Be Careful What You Wish For opens with Harry Clifton and his wife Emma rushing to the hospital to learn the fate of their son, Sebastian, who has been involved in a fatal car accident. But who died, Sebastian or his best friend Bruno? When Ross Buchanan is forced to resign as chairman of the Barrington Shipping Company, Emma Clifton wants to replace him. But Don Pedro Martinez intends to install his puppet, the egregious Major Alex Fisher, in order to destroy the Barrington family firm just as the company plans to build its new luxury liner, the MV Buckingham.

    DIANE says: "A blockbuster! Waiting for the next book!!!"
    "Entertaining yarn"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    So what if taking the story forward relies on one highly improbable coincidence after the next. It's good fun anyway!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Imperium: A Novel of Ancient Rome

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Robert Harris
    • Narrated By Simon Jones
    Overall
    (1318)
    Performance
    (638)
    Story
    (643)

    When Tiro, the confidential secretary (and slave) of a Roman senator, opens the door to a terrified stranger on a cold November morning, he sets in motion a chain of events that will eventually propel his master into one of the most suspenseful courtroom dramas in history.

    Karen says: "Great Naration, Great Book"
    "For fans of intelligent storytelling"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    My prior knowledge of Cicero was gleaned entirely from his fairly minor role in HBO's bawdy, totally over-the-top series "Rome," so I can't begin to comment on the historical accuracy of this fictionalized biography, but I loved it! The storytelling was oddly riveting, especially considering how mundane the details of Cicero's law practice must have been in reality, and the narration was nothing short of brilliant. I gulped this down and went straight to gorging on Conspirata. Can't wait for the next installment.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Burnable Book: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Bruce Holsinger
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    Overall
    (80)
    Performance
    (69)
    Story
    (68)

    London, 1385: Surrounded by ruthless courtiers - including his powerful uncle, John of Gaunt, and Gaunt's artful mistress, Katherine Swynford - England's young king, Richard II, is in mortal peril. Songs are heard across London - catchy verses said to originate from an ancient book that prophesies the ends of England's kings - and among the book's predictions is Richard's assassination. Only a few powerful men know that the cryptic lines derive from a "burnable book", a seditious work that threatens the stability of the realm.

    Patrick M. Dennis says: "Couldn't Be Better!"
    "promise not quite fulfilled"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The story started out in a promising way, but the plot became complicated without being commensurately clever. There were quite a few characters whose motives were rather vague, and there were none that I pine to hear from again in future books. The story itself wouldn't have earned four stars from me, but it got an extra star for what struck me as authenticity in descriptions of the medieval setting. It was well read, so don't hesitate to try it if you are a fan of historical fiction.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Retreat, Hell!: Book Ten in The Corps Series

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By W. E. B. Griffin
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (223)
    Performance
    (195)
    Story
    (195)

    It is the fall of 1950. The Marines have made a pivotal breakthrough at Inchon, but a roller coaster awaits them. The bit in his teeth, Douglas MacArthur is intent on surging across the 38th parallel toward the Yalu River, where he is certain no Chinese are waiting for him, while Major Ken McCoy, operating undercover, hears a different story entirely, and is just as intent on nailing down the truth before it is too late.

    Tom says: "Griffin makes war history fun"
    "An unworthy ending to the series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about Retreat, Hell!?

    Where to start? When the series started, Griffin could spend 100 pages describing a day in the life of his characters and keep me interested in what was going to happen to them the next day. Then out of the blue, with this "afterthought" of a conclusion, we pick up the story years later in a different war and speed recklessly to a conclusion that leaves me desperately wishing I had just finished this tale in my own mind instead of entrusting it to the actual author.


    Would you ever listen to anything by W. E. B. Griffin again?

    Of course. I can forgive him a lot for having told a damn good yarn up to this point.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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